COP26 Live Blog: All in for 1.5ºCWe Mean Business Coalition
Read live updates from on the ground in Glasgow, including the latest business announcements, policy breakthroughs and other key developments.
SATURDAY 13 NOVEMBER –
This statement is the We Mean Business Coalition response to the Glasgow Climate Pact, agreed at COP26.
The Glasgow Climate Pact represents a vital step in our shared efforts to keep global warming to 1.5°C and implement the Paris Agreement and will be welcomed by the business community. The Pact and recent pledges keep 1.5°C alive, just. BUT to get 1.5ºC out of intensive care we must fast track implementation of all pledges and national plans.
FRIDAY 12 NOVEMBER –
An updated draft proposal was released by the COP26 Presidency this morning, on the last official day of the conference. The text retains many important elements, including pursing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. However, there are other vital elements that remain insufficient or have been weakened in the latest update.
“Business urges countries to be crystal clear in the COP26 text that the end of coal power and fossil fuel subsidies is both inevitable and in sight. Over 750 companies from across the world are urging governments to phase out coal-fired power generation by 2030 for developed countries and by 2040 for other countries. This along with an end to fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 is the timeline business needs to help get us on track. Anything less is incompatible with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5ºC.” – Maria Mendiluce, CEO, We Mean Business Coalition.
THURSDAY 11 NOVEMBER –
As we approach the critical final stages of COP26, the We Mean Business Coalition is calling on governments to take bold decisions to keep the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement alive, and to ensure a just transition.
Businesses around the world have set ambitious science-based targets, and are investing in climate solutions and disclosing progress toward reducing emissions. They are taking action and going all in for 1.5°C, but can collectively go further and faster within the right enabling environments.
The final COP26 outcome must therefore seize this opportunity by delivering key outcomes to drive concrete implementation this decade with the aim of halving global emissions by 2030. Anything less will simply not be enough to put us on track for 1.5°C. Action this decade must drive sustainable economic growth, build resilience and solidarity, and create new jobs as part of a just transition.
On Cities, Regions & the Built Environment day at COP26, the Race to Zero campaign announced a breakthrough in the real estate sector, with US$1.2 trillion in real estate assets under management now committed to halving emissions by 2030, along with 20% of architects and engineers.
And over additional 40 businesses have signed the World Green Building Council’s commitment to decarbonize the built environment across their portfolios and business activities. The commitment, which covers life-cycle emissions including embodied emissions from initial construction, now has a total of 156 signatories, with 122 businesses and organizations; 28 cities; and 6 states and regions. The businesses and organizations signed up to the commitment account for approximately 6.5 million (tCO2e) of portfolio emissions annually.
The actions being taken by signatories to WorldGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment to tackle whole life carbon are critical because they are driving emissions reductions now and in the future. All businesses must ensure they are addressing the emissions from their built assets, which will help grow demand for low-emission buildings and construction materials. Taking full account of the emissions footprint of the built environment now will set us on the right track for a 1.5ºC future.
The US and China issued a joint statement yesterday announcing their intention to enhance co-operation on climate action in the 2020s, to help address the “significant gap” that remains in achieving the 1.5ºC target. The world’s two largest carbon emitters highlighted collaborative efforts on reducing methane emissions, protecting forests and phasing out coal.
“To have the world’s two largest economies and greenhouse gas emitters working together with the ambition of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5ºC is welcome news. Crucially, they are clearly focused on actions needed right now. Ahead of COP26, 778 forward-looking businesses called for G20 leaders to take the action needed to halve emissions by 2030. That goal is more likely to be achieved if China and America are collaborating on key technologies, regulatory alignment, and key issues like renewable energy, methane and deforestation. We now need a strong outcome from COP26 that builds on this bilateral statement and shows the highest ambition by all the global community.” – María Mendiluce, CEO We Mean Business Coalition.
The UK Corporate Leaders Group (CLG UK) has launched a new report highlighting the role and interaction of business and policy in supporting resilient places. ‘Preparing for the storm: The role of UK business and government in improving UK resilience to climate change in the UK’ explores how leading UK businesses are already increasing community resilience through climate adaptation strategies and action. The report identifies how policy can be used to support acceleration in the race to resilience.
The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA), an international alliance of national governments committed to phasing out the production of oil and gas, added six full members at COP26 – France, Greenland, Ireland, Quebec, Sweden and Wales. However, the alliance, led by Costa Rica and Denmark, did not get the support of any major fossil fuel producers.
WEDNESDAY 10 NOVEMBER –
Transport Day at COP26 kicked off with a host of announcements highlighting the accelerating transition to zero-emission vehicles. Over 100 national governments, cities, states and major businesses have now signed the Glasgow Declaration on Zero-Emission Cars and Vans to end the sale of internal combustion engines by 2035 in leading markets and 2040 worldwide. The companies include Ford, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors and Volvo.
The UK COP26 Presidency highlighted a “critical mass of support” driving the transition to zero-emission vehicles. This includes collective commitments to working towards 100% of all vehicle sales being zero emission by 2040 or earlier from markets representing 2 billion people, and automakers representing more than a quarter of car sales globally.
Climate Group’s EV100 initiative welcomed seven new members, joining over 100 leading companies in committing to switch their fleets to EVs and/or install charging for staff and/or customers by 2030. The seven new members have committed to electrify their combined fleets of over 250,000 vehicles by 2030. New joiners include the fifth largest fleet operator in the UK M Group Services, SK Networks from South Korea, Nichicon Corporation from Japan and US-based Gilead Sciences Inc., Mack-Cali Realty Corporation and NRG Energy Inc. Gilead Sciences, Inc. is also joining RE100 by committing to 100% renewable electricity by 2025.
A global agreement on zero emission trucks and buses, led by the government of the Netherlands and CALSTART, was also launched today, with more than a dozen countries including Chile, Turkey, Austria, New Zealand and the UK signing on. Signatories will work towards achieving 100% new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales being zero emission by 2040, with an interim target of 30% by 2030. The agreement has also received widespread support from industry, shippers and subnational governments, including Scania, BYD, DHL, Heineken and Quebec.
Meanwhile, 35 companies, countries, regions and cities committed to accelerate the rollout of EV charging infrastructure, and called on peers to follow suit, to help accelerate the shift to zero-emission transport.
“Forward looking businesses know the future is electric. Hundreds of companies are switching to 100% electric vehicles as part of the EV100 initiative, while major automakers are transitioning their production lines to zero emission vehicles. Now we can see zero-emission technologies are ready to take hold in heavy transport as well, with a global agreement on zero emission trucks and buses. This kind of progress is essential to our collective effort to keep 1.5ºC within reach.” – María Mendiluce, CEO of We Mean Business Coalition.
The first draft of an agreement from COP26 has been published by the UK COP26 Presidency, calling on countries pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C, through “meaningful and effective action by all Parties in this critical decade”.
“Business welcomes that, for the first time at COP26, countries have included the need to accelerate the phase out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies in the latest draft text. However, we now urge countries to align with limiting global temperature rises to 1.5ºC. We encourage parties to hear the call of hundreds of companies to phase out coal by 2030 in advanced economies and 2040 for other countries, and remove all fossil fuel subsidies by 2040. Business needs these specifics to go all in for scaling up renewable power.” – María Mendiluce, CEO of We Mean Business Coalition.
The number of companies setting 1.5°C-aligned science-based targets has now surpassed 1,000, the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the United Nations Global Compact announced at COP26. The companies collectively represent over $23 trillion in market capitalization, span 53 sectors over 60 countries and have more than 32 million employees. Meanwhile, the Science Based Targets initiative has launched a new report celebrating its climate action and ambition in line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Business Ambition for 1.5°C is a campaign led by the Science Based Targets initiative in partnership with the UN Global Compact and the We Mean Business coalition.
TUESDAY 9 NOVEMBER –
At COP26, focus turned to industrial decarbonization, with several key developments across the harder-to-abate sectors.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) announced 28 companies have pledged to drive growth in the hydrogen market via a new initiative called H2Zero, as an essential part of the future net-zero energy system.
The UN-backed Race to Zero campaign announced the steel sector has reached a sectorial breakthrough towards halving emissions by 2030, with 20% of major steel producers now part of the campaign. Meanwhile, 20 commercial-scale green steel facilities are planned to be deployed by 2030, with two new sites announced this week. Ahead of COP26, the Mission Possible Partnership released industry-backed roadmaps for steel, shipping and aviation, demonstrating it is technically and economically feasible for hard-to-abate sectors to develop pathways to net zero across their value chains this decade. Together, the three industries emit close to 6 Gt of CO2 per year and are absolutely critical to limiting global warming to 1.5ºC. Sector transition strategies for concrete/cement, aluminum, trucking and chemicals will follow in 2022.
The Solar Investment Action Agenda launched today, identifying opportunities for scaling up solar energy and a goal of US$1 trillion investment flowing into solar by 2030.
The Global Partnership on AI, an initiative of 18 countries plus the EU, released a new playbook for policymakers on using artificial intelligence to drive climate action, proposing new partnerships across countries and the private sector.
The Adaptation Research Alliance (ARA) launched today with a network of over 90 organizations across 30 economies, bringing together governments, research institutions and communities to increase the resilience of vulnerable communities on the frontline of climate change.
The number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) committed to climate action via the SME Climate Hub has reached 2,895, from 88 countries. including Israel and Ecuador. Since the start of COP26, 170 SMEs have joined the SME Climate Hub.
MONDAY 8 NOVEMBER –
At the start of week two, here at COP26, several initiatives addressing climate resilience have been announced. They will drive progress towards our shared goal of keeping 1.5ºC within reach. The Global Resilience Index launched today, will help improve the way insurers, financiers and investors measure the resilience of countries, companies and supply chains. The Global EverGreening Alliance and Climate Asset Management, announced a partnership to deliver a US$150 million nature-based carbon program in Africa to restore more than two million hectares of land. The program, which is a community-led model, aims to directly support two million smallholder farms in the next five years across six African countries – Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. And a new guide, Infrastructure Pathways, was launched to help guide infrastructure development to better adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Meanwhile, Edinburgh City joined over 30 cities in the Climate Champion’s Race to Resilience campaign. The UN-backed initiative also launched a metrics framework that allows cities, regions, businesses and investors to measure the progress of their work in building resilience to climate change. Over 2.3 billion people and 100 natural systems and over 100 countries are so far covered by the work being carried out by the Race to Resilience’s partner initiatives.
The Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) has released new guidance to enable the wider adoption of science-based targets by private equity investors, in partnership with Anthesis and supported by the UN PRI and signatories of Initiative Climat International (ICi). The new guidance is tailored to the unique business models and asset classes of private equity firms, to align their investment portfolios and operations to well-below 2°C and 1.5°C climate scenarios.
HEARD AT COP26:
SATURDAY 6 NOVEMBER –
U.S. FEDERAL CLIMATE POLICY DEVELOPMENTS:
The bipartisan infrastructure package that passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday marks an important first step toward urgently needed U.S. federal climate action. Anne Kelly, vice president of government relations of Ceres, said, “The business community knows that improving our crumbling infrastructure will reap economic benefits in communities across the U.S. However, businesses also know that we cannot meet our national climate and economic goals with the infrastructure package alone. Congress must act soon to pass the Build Back Better budget package with the level of investment in a clean energy future that we need to dramatically slash climate pollution this decade.”
Simultaneously, at COP26, members of the U.S. Senate met with business leaders at the Business Pavilion for Climate Leadership to discuss what is required for the U.S. to halve emissions by 2030 — and how U.S. businesses and policymakers can support one another on the journey toward this shared goal. See the open letter to President Biden that supports this direction of travel, signed by more than 400 companies in April 2021.
At COP26 on nature day, a host of companies took to the stage to highlight ambition and action on halting and reversing the decline of nature by 2030. This included luxury fashion brand Burberry, which announced its biodiversity strategy to support global conservation efforts. Burberry will take action to protect, restore and regenerate nature in line with the 1.5ºC pathway. It also included Amazon, which earlier in the week announced that it has helped to mobilize US$1 billion to protect the world’s tropical rainforests, as part of the LEAF Coalition – an ambitious public-private initiative to halt deforestation by financing large scale tropical forest protection.
Also on nature day, the UK COP26 presidency launched a nature action agenda, which brings together 45 governments committed to urgent action and investment to protect nature and shift to more sustainable ways of farming. The agenda will focus on actions and investment through public policies, research and innovation needed to cut CO2, reverse nature loss and build resilience in agriculture and food systems.
And funding of US$1.7 billion has been pledged by two dozen countries and foundations to support Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities from 2021 to 2025. The aim is to advance forest tenure rights and recognition of their role as guardians of forests and nature.
These announcements build on positive developments on nature from earlier on in the COP26 summit. This includes a commitment from over 100 world leaders have committed to ending and reversing deforestation by 2030, including Brazil, Russia, Canada, Colombia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The pledge is backed by £14bn (US$19.2bn) in public and private funding. While 33 financial institutions, with around US$8.7 trillion in assets, including Aviva Plc, Storebrand Asset Management and Generation Investment Management have committed to tackling deforestation driven by agricultural commodities in their portfolios by 2025.
Also earlier this week, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and 12 partners announced Regen10, an ambitious collective action plan to scale regenerative food production systems, worldwide, in a decade. The initiative, with farmers at its heart, will work with over 500 million farmers to apply regenerative production methods and transform agricultural systems, as well as ensure roughly USD $60 billion per year is deployed to finance the transition.
These are important steps in changing the way we use land to transform it from a carbon source to a carbon sink, protecting biodiversity and restoring natural ecosystems. However, for business to help deliver on 1.5°C, we need to see a meaningful price on carbon and a strong carbon market through robust rules on Article 6 that will help channel cost-effective investments and raise climate ambition. Both will support the rapid scaling up of nature-based solutions globally.
HEARD AT COP26:
FRIDAY 5 NOVEMBER –
Today at COP26, the SME Climate Hub launched a new suite of tools, providing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with comprehensive climate education and effective, free emissions measurement and reporting. With the addition of the new tools created in partnership with Normative, CDP, BSR and the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, the SME Climate Hub will be able to better enable SMEs to make strategic and impactful emissions reductions, track their progress, and demonstrate climate leadership. The SME Climate Hub is an initiative of the We Mean Business Coalition, Exponential Roadmap Initiative, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the United Nations Race to Zero campaign.
To deliver real progress towards 1.5ºC it is essential for governments, businesses and society to comprehensively and consistently measure and report GHG emission reductions. At COP26, we need governments to deliver robust rules on the Global Stocktake that strongly reflect its role in driving ambition. The Global Stocktake takes stock of how countries are progressing on their climate commitments. It is vital to accurately inform the next round of national climate targets. It must include action from all governments and business, and be an evidence-based approach that places data at the centre of the process. We must grasp the opportunity of the Global Stocktake to establish it as a key moment to raise climate ambition in the 2030 targets, by 2023 at the latest.
The investment case for high-emitting infrastructure is rapidly collapsing, with all major sectors on the verge of rolling out cheaper or cost-competitive green and resilient solutions, according to Systemiq’s Paris Effect – COP26 edition report released today. The report tracks developments across sectors covering 90% of global emissions in 2015-2021.
Fourteen governments declared support for Just Transition through green growth, decent work and economic prosperity as economies move towards net-zero emissions at COP26. The declaration, signed by the UK, the US and the European Commission, pledged to support key steps in support of the conditions for Just Transition.
THURSDAY 4 NOVEMBER –
The World Economic Forum and the US Department of State launched the First Movers Coalition at COP26. Steered by US climate envoy John Kerry, this new partnership of the world’s leading companies across emissions-intensive sectors will make proactive purchasing commitments for emerging green technologies.
More than 40 countries, including Canada, Poland, Ukraine and Vietnam, have agreed to end all investment in new coal power generation domestically and internationally, and phase out all coal power in major economies in the 2030s and 2040s for the rest of the world.
Although the High Ambition Coalition, including the US, recently said it would “phase out unabated coal-fired power plants in line with the requirements for a 1.5°C trajectory,” the US did not sign the latest agreement, nor was it backed by several of the world’s major coal-dependent economies, including Australia, China and India.
There is increasing momentum around moving away from coal, from both governments and companies. The world’s biggest economies recently committed to end overseas coal financing at the G20 Summit, building on developments at the G7 summit in June, when G7 leaders agreed to an end to new direct government support for unabated coal-fired power stations abroad by the end of 2021 and accelerate the transition away from unabated coal capacity in line with 2030 climate targets and net-zero commitments. But the current commitments are not in line with what is needed to limit warming to 1.5ºC.
This is a step in the right direction as it signals the wider shift away from coal, and marks clear progress for many economies. Continued use of coal is one of the biggest obstacles to closing the emissions gap to the 1.5ºC future, as the most polluting power source. All pathways to 1.5ºC rely on a rapid phase out of unabated coal use, by all countries.
To keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5ºC, all economies must commit to ending new coal power development and financing immediately, and develop plans to phase out coal-fired power generation by 2030 for advanced economies, and 2040 for other countries, whilst ensuring a just transition for affected workers.
This was the clear message put forward by over 775 companies, representing US$2.7 trillion in annual revenue and employing 10 million people, that signed on open letter to G20 leaders ahead of COP26. It makes no long-term sense to continue pumping money into an asset that is already destined to eventually have no value — a stranded asset. Rather, governments should support businesses to look for growth industries and innovation to invest in.
A growing number of companies are pushing for greater action on ending coal and transitioning to 100% renewable energy. Many have already started ambitious decarbonization plans for their companies, and many are committing to purchasing 100% renewable electricity. To date, over 300 companies have committed to 100% renewable electricity with Climate Group’s RE100, while over 40 power producers including Iberdrola, Ørsted and Vattenfall are cutting emissions in line with the 1.5ºC pathway with science-based targets.
With around 70% of the global economy now committed to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, the urgency of exiting coal and completely phasing out fossil fuel subsidies is clear. Coal emits around 980 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour (kWh), 2.5 times more than the most efficient natural gas generation (380g/kWh), while new renewable energy has now reached cost parity across nearly all major economies. The IEA’s new World Energy Outlook also makes it clear that progress on the clean energy transition is still far too slow to put global emissions into sustained decline towards net-zero.
At COP26, Race to Zero announced a breakthrough ambition achieved in the power sector on the demand side. Over 20% of major companies by revenue have now committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity through Climate Group’s RE100. Collectively, Race to Zero energy members including power producers have committed to reach 750GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2030. This is enough to provide power to 896 million people today.
The Powering Past Coal Alliance welcomed 28 new members including seven subnational governments, three new energy companies and 11 new financial institutions. All members are committed to end unabated coal power. And ten pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca, GSK and Pfizer joined forces to cut indirect emissions by shifting to renewable energy, as part of the Race to Zero campaign.
Meanwhile, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and South Africa have secured finance from the Climate Investment Funds to support their just energy transition from coal to clean energy. And South Africa has announced a ground-breaking $8.5 billion partnership with international partners to support a just energy transition from coal.
HEARD AT COP26:
WEDNESDAY 3 NOVEMBER –
WBCSD’s Business Manifesto for Climate Recovery, launched at COP26 in the Business Pavilion, is the first time that the world’s most sustainable, ambitious businesses have used their collective voice to outline what is required to accelerate the global climate recovery. The Manifesto sets out of twelve action priorities framed around reducing, removing, and reporting emissions and highlights the public-private collaboration required to drive climate action.
A new body to develop a global standard for corporate sustainability disclosures, the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), has been launched at COP26 today by the foundation that oversees the International Accounting Standards Board.
The ISSB will provide a global standard that will facilitate the widespread and consistent disclosure of sustainability information across sectors. This is based on the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) framework, which in recent years has been widely adopted by organizations across sectors and jurisdictions. As more and more countries move from voluntary to mandatory reporting, it is vital that the standards support widespread, consistent sustainability reporting, to help investors make the right decisions on where to move their money. Because the ISSB will be based on TCFD recommendations it provides a crucial opportunity to ensure a truly global and consistent approach to sustainability reporting across different jurisdictions.
For full analysis read:
Financing the transition to net-zero through better reporting
by Dr. Jane Thostrup Jagd, Deputy Director, Net Zero Finance, We Mean Business Coalition
The amount of private capital now committed to transforming to a net-zero economy through the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) has surged to reach a total of US$130 trillion. The initiative has grown 25-fold since April to 450 firms from 45 countries, according to a progress report published today. These GFANZ commitments can deliver the estimated $100 trillion of finance needed for the transition to a net-zero economy over the next three decades, which is 70% of total investments needed, according to new analysis commissioned by the UN High-Level Climate Action Champions.
Mobilizing investment at this scale is critical to financing the transition to a net-zero economy, aligned with the 1.5ºC pathway. It’s vital that finance is available to accelerate a green recovery from COVID-19 and to stimulate net-zero products, services and business models. In order to further accelerate financial flows to the net-zero transition, all countries need to implement the policies and investment framework conditions to speed regulatory change and trigger the climate investments required. This includes putting a meaningful price on carbon and supporting robust Article 6 rules that ensure environmental integrity and avoid double counting. It also includes making climate-related financial disclosure mandatory for corporations, in line with the TCFD recommendations, ending coal financing immediately and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.
TUESDAY 2 NOVEMBER –
At COP26 today, Amazon announced that it has helped to mobilize US$1 billion to protect the world’s tropical rainforests, as part of the LEAF Coalition, an ambitious public-private initiative to halt deforestation by financing large scale tropical forest protection. Together with the governments of Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as other leading companies, Amazon is accelerating climate action by committing upfront to purchase verified emissions reductions from countries committed to tackling one of the world’s most critical issues: reducing tropical deforestation.
Mastercard has brought forward its net-zero target to 2040, from 2050, having already transitioned to 100% renewable energy in 2018 for its own operations. The company said the next stage of its emission reduction strategy would focus on further decarbonization across its value chain, including Scopes 1, 2 & 3 emissions. As a key part of this target, the US-headquartered financial services company has an approved science-based target aligned with the 1.5ºC pathway, and has joined the Business Ambition for 1.5ºC campaign. Mastercard has received an “A” rating for Supplier Engagement since 2018 from CDP, and joined the 1.5°C Supply Chain Leaders Initiative, supporting large and small suppliers with concrete resources and tools for measuring their emissions and developing climate strategies through the SME Climate Hub.
More than 100 world leaders have committed to ending and reversing deforestation by 2030, including Brazil, Russia, Canada, Colombia, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The pledge is backed by £14bn (US$19.2bn) in public and private funding.
To limit global temperature rise to 1.5ºC, this is an important step in changing the way we use land to transform it from a carbon source to a carbon sink, protecting biodiversity and restoring natural ecosystems. For business to help deliver on 1.5°C, we need to see a meaningful price on carbon and a strong carbon market through robust rules on Article 6 that will help channel cost-effective investments and raise climate ambition. Both will support the rapid scaling up of nature-based solutions globally.
Meanwhile, 33 financial institutions, with around US$8.7 trillion in assets, including Aviva Plc, Storebrand Asset Management and Generation Investment Management have committed to tackling deforestation driven by agricultural commodities in their portfolios by 2025. The commitment is part of broader efforts to drive the global shift towards sustainable production and nature-based solutions, with a focus on palm oil, soy, beef, and pulp and paper.
And the LEAF Coalition (Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance) today announced that it has mobilized US$1 billion for those countries and states committed to protect tropical and sub-tropical forests and reduce deforestation.
At the COP26 leaders’ summit, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a series of climate pledges for the country, including increasing to 500GW non-fossil fuel energy capacity by 2030, reaching 50% renewable energy, reducing emissions by 1 billion tonnes CO2 by 2030, and reaching net-zero emissions by 2070.
Further information is needed to assess the exact temperature implications of these commitments, such as the baseline against which the 1 billion tonnes is measured and if the net-zero target refers to all GHG or just CO2, but initial indications suggest these are significant improvements compared to India’s current commitments. India has clearly heard the call of nearly 800 companies, including almost 150 present in India, that recently urged all G20 Leaders to align with a 1.5ºC pathway. The country has an opportunity to step into a climate and development leadership role, which will be hugely welcomed by the private sector and will usher in new investments. India is now calling on developed countries to deliver the climate finance that will support the transition.
MONDAY 1 NOVEMBER –
NEWS 13:00 GMT:
US President Joe Biden sought to further demonstrate the country’s leadership on climate action as COP26 got underway with the leaders’ summit today. Biden announced plans to provide US$3 billion per year in US climate finance to help vulnerable nations adapt to the growing impacts of climate change. The funding is part of the US$11.4 billion climate finance already promised by Biden each year, by 2024. This year has heralded a return of the United States as a climate leader, re-entering the Paris Agreement and releasing an enhanced national climate target, of 50-52% emissions reductions by 2050. However, now ambitious climate policy must be backed up by detailed implementation plans.
Business played a key role in delivering this increased ambition, with over 400 companies signing an open letter led by Ceres and We Mean Business Coalition, calling on the US administration to increase climate leadership. This business backing will continue to be key over the coming days and weeks on the international stage at COP26, and in the US Congress during the passage of the Build Back Better legislation. Ambitious climate policy will enable business to innovate – creating the jobs, services and technologies needed to halve emissions this decade and reach net zero by 2050.
NEWS 13:30 GMT:
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new “Clean Green Initiative” at the leaders’ summit in COP26. The plan is intended to help developing countries access green technologies to grow their economies without increasing emissions and includes a doubling of U.K. aid-funded investment into low-carbon solutions, to more than £3 billion (US$4.1 billion) over five years, if the economy grows as predicted.
NEWS 11:00 GMT:
Around 80 nations have now joined the Global Methane Pledge, a commitment to cut methane emissions by 30% by the end of the decade, up from around 20 nations last week, according to reports. The pledge, put forward by the U.S. and the European Union, now covers more than two-thirds of the global economy. Achieving the commitment could reduce overall global warming by 0.2°C according to some estimates. The EU and US is expected to introduce related legislation to address methane emissions generated by oil and gas suppliers within their borders.
Today, signatories of The Climate Pledge came together through social media to celebrate their collective commitment to net zero by 2040 and demonstrate that The Climate Pledge is a powerful community of action. The Pledge community shared a message emphasizing the need for collective corporate climate ambition – as the more businesses show a united front, the greater the potential impact.
SUNDAY 31 OCTOBER –
The G20 summit in Rome concluded with the world’s largest economies recognizing the importance of keeping 1.5ºC within reach. They have set out their intention to accelerate action in the 2020s and reach net-zero around mid-century. This is the first time the G20 have collectively made net-zero the target and they have also recognized that current commitments will not be enough to achieve that. Now an urgent ratcheting of national climate targets (nationally determined contributions) in line with the 1.5ºC pathway should follow.
They have heard the clear calls from business on financing coal and providing climate finance and chosen to act to keep 1.5C within reach. Over 775 businesses representing US$2.7 trillion in annual revenue and employing 10 million people have called on G20 leaders ahead of the summit, via an open letter organised by We Mean Business Coalition, urging them to take action to limit average global temperature rise to 1.5°C.
Building from the G7 outcomes earlier this year, the whole G20 has now committed to end international coal financing by the end of 2021. G20 Leaders have recognized the need to transform their energy systems in line with the Paris Agreement, and agreed to help each other to do this. Though they stopped short of putting an explicit timeline on phasing out coal, the IEA’s roadmap for the global energy sector shows that reaching net-zero by mid-century will require phasing out unabated coal-fired power generation by 2030 in advanced economies, 2040 for other countries.
G20 leaders also reaffirmed the importance of climate finance, including delivering on the commitment of US$100 billion per year for developing countries, and recognized the need to scale up of adaptation finance.
But it is now crucial that we move from principles to action. On the eve of COP26 the G20 outcome sends a strong message from the world’s largest economies that we should go all in to keep 1.5ºC within reach. The baton is now firmly passed to governments at COP26 to set clear steps to deliver accelerated action in this critical decade and turn political intention into reality.
Meanwhile, in his closing remarks at the G20 summit, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi committed to triple the country’s climate finance contribution to US$1.4 billion per year for the next five years, as part of the wider commitment from developed nations to provide US$100 billion per year in climate finance to developing nations. However, this level is widely regarded as below the amount considered fair for the country to deliver.
New Zealand has increased its national climate targets, committing to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030.
EARLIER THIS WEEK:
A 50-megawatt onshore wind farm in Scotland is now operational, having been constructed without the need for government funding. Tech giant Amazon has agreed to purchase 100% of the power output from the Beinn an Tuirc 3 facility, which is run by ScottishPower — part of the Iberdrola Group.
FRIDAY 29 OCTOBER –
NEWS 13:00 BST:
Electric vehicle pioneer Tesla has joined the Business Ambition for 1.5ºC campaign, along with a host of new joiners ahead of COP26, including US sports retailer New Balance and US technology company QUALCOMM Inc.
NEWS 10:00 BST:
European airline Air France – KLM, US office retail company Staples, Inc. and Anglo-Russian precious metals mining company Polymetal are among the latest companies to commit to set a science-based target with the Science Based Targets initiative.
In the remaining days ahead of COP26 and amid the ongoing energy price spike in Europe, the oil and gas sector is increasingly in focus. The European Investment Bank (EIB), the world’s largest multilateral bank and lending arm of the EU, vowed to end all loans to oil and gas firms by closing a loophole, as it seeks to become a ‘climate bank’. Royal Dutch Shell has set out a target to halve its carbon emissions by 2030, however, the target has been criticised as it is limited to the company’s own operations, which account for only 10% of the company’s total emissions. This follows news from earlier in the week that hedge fund Third Point, which has a large stake in Royal Dutch Shell, and called on the oil major to separate its legacy oil business and split into multiple companies to increase its performance and market value.
EARLIER THIS WEEK:
Apple announced it has more than doubled the number of suppliers committed to using 100 percent clean energy over the last year, with 175 suppliers now signed up. The initiative is part of the tech giant’s 2030 goal to be carbon neutral across its supply chain and products. The company and its suppliers will bring online more than 9 GW of clean power around the world. Apple is a member of Climate Group’s RE100 initiative.
The first Bolivian SME (small and medium-sized enterprise), industrial alcohol manufacturer Agaui S.A., has joined the SME Climate Hub this week, helping to take the total number of SMEs committed to halving emissions by 2030 to 2,624, from 80 different countries.
THURSDAY 28 OCTOBER –
NEWS 17:00 BST:
The White House has released the Framework Agreement on the Build Back Better Act (the Budget Reconciliation Package) with US$550 billion worth of climate and energy spending. When passed, the legislation would constitute the largest bill on climate in US federal history. This framework has been negotiated for months within the Democrat party and there are still several hurdles still to overcome for its passage. The voice of business calling for ambitious climate policy is still crucial to ensure its passage through Congress. But this is first significant step forward in months and right in time for the President to fly to Europe today for the G20 Summit over the weekend and of course COP26 in Glasgow.
NEWS 00:01 BST:
The Science Based Target initiative has launched its new Net-Zero Standard to provide a credible and independent assessment of corporate net-zero target setting and enable companies to align their near- and long-term climate action with limiting global warming to 1.5°C. The standard clarifies that rapid action to halve emissions before 2030 and long-term deep emissions cuts of 90-95% before 2050 are crucial for net-zero targets to align with science. Seven companies, including AstraZeneca, CVS Health and Ørsted, are the first worldwide to have science-based net-zero targets verified by the SBTi.
María Mendiluce, CEO of We Mean Business Coalition – “In the race against climate change, every fraction of a degree of temperature rise matters. The Science Based Target initiative’s Net-Zero Standard gives companies the guidance they need to set credible net-zero targets aligned with climate science. Companies must first and foremost decarbonize by more than 90% and then neutralize residual emissions. To keep the global carbon budget within reach, the standard also encourages companies to compensate for their current emissions through, for example investments in high-quality nature-based solutions. Businesses of all sectors, sizes and regions must have the courage to go all in for keeping 1.5°C within reach.”
Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Professor in Earth System Science at the University of Potsdam – “The Net-Zero Standard gives companies a clear blueprint on how to bring their net-zero plans in line with the science, which is non-negotiable in this decisive decade for climate action. Because we are running out of time.”
A new benchmark of net-zero goals from the Energy and Climate Intelligence unit (ECIU) shows that a third of large, listed companies in G20 countries now have net-zero targets in place, marking a significant uptick from one in five last year. The report highlights that G20 businesses are “leading national governments” when it comes to quality net-zero targets.
China, Australia and Saudi Arabia have joined the growing number of countries increasing their national climate plans ahead of COP26. China detailed plans to reach peak emissions by 2030, as part of its roadmap to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. Australia committed to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, but failed to provide a 2030 emissions reduction target aligned with the 1.5ºC pathway. Saudi Arabia pledged to reach net-zero by 2060 but without plans to reduce oil production. And the UK’s Climate Change Committee (CCC) has called the UK government’s net-zero plan a “major step forward”.
EARLIER THIS WEEK:
More than 90 CEOs of large multinational organizations, all members of the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, have signed an open letter to show their commitment to reduce emissions by more than 1Gt annually by 2030 and believe that businesses can do more if world leaders reach agreement at COP26 that would put us on a 1.5° pathway.
Hedge fund Third Point, which has a large stake in Royal Dutch Shell, and called on the oil major to separate its legacy oil business and split into multiple companies to increase its performance and market value.
Over 730 investors with more than US$52 trillion in assets under management have issued a unified call for governments to end fossil fuel subsidies, phase out coal, and mandate climate risk disclosure, ahead of COP26. Signatories include some of the world’s largest investors, including State Street Global Advisors, PIMCO, AMUNDI and Legal & General Investment Management.
Chemicals company Sasol is leading a feasibility study for the Boegoebaai “green hydrogen” development in South Africa, to explore the potential of Boegoebaai as an export hub for green hydrogen and ammonia.
US technology company HP announced an US$80 million partnership expansion with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to further its commitment to forest conservation as part of HP’s comprehensive climate action strategy.